Any Reason To Believe Links Will Fall as #1 Ranking Factor?

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What do you guys think about the longevity potential of links being the #1 ranking factor? Is there any reason to believe that links will be overshadowed by another signal in the next 10 years or so?
#factor #fall #links #ranking #reason
  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    The problem is what would replace them?

    What else gives a good indication about the popularity of a webpage?

    I know the social crowd is going to jump in here and claim that social signals are the answer. Google is not that dumb though. They are easier to manipulate than links are. Plus if something like Facebook Likes became a major ranking factor, Google would be giving a lot of power to Facebook to control its algorithm. What happens when one day Facebook decides to block access to Google for that information?

    Google is never going to put a lot of stock into anything they could be restricted from at any moment.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      The problem is what would replace them?

      What else gives a good indication about the popularity of a webpage?

      I know the social crowd is going to jump in here and claim that social signals are the answer. Google is not that dumb though. They are easier to manipulate than links are. Plus if something like Facebook Likes became a major ranking factor, Google would be giving a lot of power to Facebook to control its algorithm. What happens when one day Facebook decides to block access to Google for that information?

      Google is never going to put a lot of stock into anything they could be restricted from at any moment.
      Links are the best indicators of quality, so Google will benefit more from improving their spam detection filters than trying to create a new ranking factor that is inferior to links which could potentially screw up the SERPs.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOArbiterJoanne
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      The problem is what would replace them?
      Mike is exactly right.

      Some popular link building techniques come and go and the importance of certain aspects (On page factors) keeps changing from time to time but higher quality links have always been the most important and I don't see any way that could change.
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  • Profile picture of the author GTC1187
    Great answer!
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  • Profile picture of the author wickid
    Links will always be a part of the algorithm...but I do think social signals will make a bigger and bigger gain in how sites are ranked. If this wasn't the case do you think Google would still be trying to make Google Plus a popular social network? It will never dominate Facebook but it is one of the top networks mainly because every Google account created also has a Google Plus account. With everything in Google being tied to that Google account, YouTube and Google+ are pretty much hand in hand now.

    Are Google Pluses easily attained...sure...but I am sure Google is also capable of analyzing and figuring out genuine pluses vs fake and spam pluses. As the analysis gets better and better over the next 10 years I am pretty sure that social signals will be one of the major ranking factors for sites as it is still a lot easier to play with back links than it is to manipulate social signals.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by wickid View Post

      Links will always be a part of the algorithm...but I do think social signals will make a bigger and bigger gain in how sites are ranked. If this wasn't the case do you think Google would still be trying to make Google Plus a popular social network? It will never dominate Facebook but it is one of the top networks mainly because every Google account created also has a Google Plus account. With everything in Google being tied to that Google account, YouTube and Google+ are pretty much hand in hand now.

      You must have missed the part where Google fired the person in charge of Google Plus and dissolved the Google Plus team.
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    • Profile picture of the author mkgg
      The answer is simple

      Never.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        The only thing that has a chance of replacing links in some areas is authorship and even that is going to be based loosely on links as well.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
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          Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

          The only thing that has a chance of replacing links in some areas is authorship and even that is going to be based loosely on links as well.
          Authorship can be faked, so I doubt Google would ever consider that as a ranking factor.

          Example, look at the bot that post live earthquake reports on the LA Times (Quakebot), it has a Twitter account with 75K followers.

          Here's an example of Quakebot posting on the LA Times. The short article even includes an image & keyword stuffed internal link (Southern California earthquakes). All automated.

          My point is, this can be done with any subject in any niche. It's impossible to prove an author is human. Now combine that with a fiverr gig selling 75K followers. That could be instant SEO fame If Google went down the authorship road, even If nobody ever reads anything the bot post.
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  • Profile picture of the author netanel23
    No way, I firmly believe that links will always remain the #1 ranking variable by Google or atleast for a very long time in the future. If anything the rules of link building will change (as they have in the past year) but links will still dominate in SEO.
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